Tuesday, February 28th 2017 at 9:54AM GMT
The latest findings from the Department for Transport-funded “Propensity to Cycle Tool” project show that, given the right policies and investments, Brits would cycle more. (Actually, the data is for England-only, but clearly it could be extrapolated to elsewhere in the UK.)
The Propensity to Cycle Tool shows almost one in five Brits would cycle to work if conditions on the roads were more akin to those in the Netherlands.
“Cycling potential”, say the academics behind the modelling tool, “is the level of cycling that can be expected under different potential future scenarios. The results show that with the right cycling conditions, cycling levels across the country could be much higher than they currently are.”
In England, only three percent of commuters cycle all the way to work.
“Sometimes people assume that this is because England is too hilly or journey distances are too long,” says the new findings, produced by academics including Robin Lovelace and Rachel Aldred.
“However, while our results show that while hilliness and distance do play an important role in influencing cycling levels, these factors are not everything. Some hilly places, such as Bristol, have achieved higher than average cycling despite having a modelled cycling propensity below the national average.”
The Propensity to Cycle Tool models with four scenerios: “government target,” which assumes that cycling levels double nationally, and uses trip distance and hilliness to predict which trips would switch; “gender equality,” in which women have the same propensity to cycle a given trip as men; “go Dutch,” which draws on Dutch Travel Survey data to estimate what cycling levels one would observe if England acquired Dutch cycling infrastructure and Dutch cycling culture, but kept its current trip distances and hilliness; and “e-bikes,” which adds pedal-assist to “go Dutch” in order to encourage longer trips and overcomes hilliness.
The “go Dutch” scenario showed that if English people became as likely to cycle as Dutch people, nearly one in five – or 18 percent – would cycle to work.
Under the “e-bikes” scenario, 26 percent of commuters would cycle all the way to work, claim the academics.